For the first time since the pandemic, I enjoyed free time last week for deep creativity and work dreaming. It was like a mini retreat.
Silence was the first thing I have been craving. I pushed my daughter’s zebra finches’ birdcage onto the front porch and asked Rich to pack his lunch to take to the common house co-working space so he wouldn’t need to come home mid day.
I locked the front door and luxuriated for hours in the silence of three kids at school.
Yet as often happens when entering into retreat mode, things didn’t go as planned.
I thought I would get immediate clarity about the details for my fall offering — the Flourish Holiday Playshop — but some surprises emerged.
It turns out I was still integrating from teaching the Enneagram and Money class in a colleague’s virtual event, and inspiration and creativity don’t respond when I stomp my feet.
After some bumpy days, I remembered to remember that I don’t have to fight time. I can trust that I have all the time I need to create what is mine to create and get curious about what I’m feeling now rather than wishing I was being more productive.
I decided to shift gears and rather than trying to work, focus instead on restoring.
I realized my body was tired and climbed back in bed for a super long yoga nidra session at 10AM. (This felt uber decadent.) I liberally sprinkled looooong walks to our nearby creek to enjoy the golden fall sunshine and chi-gong and meditation to reset my energy bank account.
And, as it does, clarity snuck in the back door. So, here is a little update on some things I’ve been thinking about:
One of my goals for this biz retreat was to continue to find new ways to open conversations about the inner life and to share resources. In the old economy we might call this ‘marketing’ but honestly that word never sat well with me. I prefer thinking of the blog posts or videos I share as invitations, tiny tastes, or small offerings.
Visibility can be tricky. In fact, in many, many moments, I feel the urge to hide. As an introvert and empath, the energetics of the world easily overwhelm me.
And yet I love people. And like you I suspect, I feel a deep commitment to contribute.
This journey of soulful entrepreneurialism keeps calling me forward, step by step, and surprising the hell out of me. (I never planned on starting a business. I was a righteous non-profit type, and have made every mistake and misstep possible. Or at least MANY of the common ones.)
But now I look behind me and have a whole decade of experience creating a coaching community in this online personal growth space that I am really proud of.
There have been many initiations and stretch points. (It is good to honor the challenges and not only highlight the ‘wins.’) And there have been amazing travel, teaching opportunities and client relationships I treasure.
(Just for fun, want to go waaaaay back? Check out this youtube meditation I made 8 years ago. I am standing in a labyrinth down the street from my house in Dallas. And then here is a pic of me at the world’s largest labyrinth from a retreat I hosted in Costa Rica! I love how as we grow and evolve some things stay the same.)
I understand that connecting to people is part of running a soulful business. And that is relevant because in our family Rich and I are what I call “bread sharers” – meaning we both need to bring home money for our family.
But I have been hunting for a new paradigm around visibility. So much of what I encounter online, whether on social media or in the realm of online marketing, feels superficial, manipulative or tedious. I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing myself to share when I’d rather be alone. Or worse extracting moments and inspiration out of my life in a way that isn’t authentic or sustainable. I need my business practices to feel meaningful: like they are part of a greater good.
Over the past week I have been reflecting:
What could a thriving relationship between visibility and the inner life look like?
As someone who leads with Type 3 on the Enneagram, the Performer, this question hits pretty close to home. I’ve spent a lot of time, especially early in my life and in academic settings, being who other people wanted me to be. And the online coaching space can be pressurized and focused on the exterior.
In my week of reflecting I listened to a podcast by Bari Tessler interviewing Danielle Cohen on the theme of visibility.
I found it moving. And it reminded me that
when we show up authenticity, imperfectly, and honestly and take up our space in the world, we make more room for others to do the same.
From this perspective visibility isn’t about grabbing attention or pushing yourself forward when you would rather hide.
It is an act of service and it takes courage.
In order to allow ourselves to be visible, we first need to root ourselves. And then gently stretch our capacity to be seen for who we really are. Visibility as a practice also requires exquisite boundaries — remembering that how people perceive us (or judge or criticize or even celebrate us) isn’t our responsibility.
I hope this reminder supports you in the spaces in your life where you are shedding old skins and wanting to be more fully seen.
Also I want to share some new ways I’m consciously cultivating visibility this year:
Instagram. I have a wonderful new social media coach, Debora Menieur-Nunez. (We met because we are both Truman scholars. She is a recent grad who is super smart and fun and helping me to show up more fully and share more about my work on Instagram, especially through making short videos like this one.) I don’t love the negative effects of social media, especially for teenage girls. I hope that by sharing positive and authentic content in that sphere I can be a part of the solution. Also, sometimes visibility is uncomfortable or stressful. In those moments I remember that I can treat it as an experiment. This isn’t a high stakes game. It’s not all or nothing. I don’t have to hitch my worth to any external outcome or number of likes. I can try things and learn and recalibrate.
And so can you.
Podcast. I am soooooo excited about this new channel for connecting and sharing. I got a lot of clarity during my biz retreat week about the format and structure of the podcast I want to create. It will be focused on what I am calling ‘stories of regeneration’ and showcasing examples of healing and growth related to all of our various life gardens (body, livelihood, home etc) and also stories of hope and examples of our earth’s capacity to heal in wild and inspiring ways. I am allowing the podcast to unfurl in right timing, but I suspect I will launch it in the new year if not before.
Where are you being called forward by your life into new experiences, creative offerings, work, and relationships?
If you need an ally, I’m here. In addition to the free ways mentioned above, there are several ways we can connect if you want to go deeper:
Keep your eyes open for my upcoming Flourish Holiday Playshop. This is a fun workshop series to help you design a conscious, meaningful holiday season. *The holidays are like a microcosm or holon. Shifts we make in this time can have lasting healing effects. Stay tuned for more details!
Private Coaching. My one on one coaching calendar tends to stay fairly full. But in honor of my favorite season I am opening up one spot for a 6 session fall coaching bundle for a new client. If you have been curious to learn more about working privately with me reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can share all the deets.
PS If you would like help planning your own solo retreat or flourish week, I share the specific calendar process I use and other strategies for depressurizing your relationship to time in chapter 10 of The Flourish Formula.
Are we connected yet on Instagram? I’m going to be sharing more inspiration, resources and videos over there this fall… Click here to checkout my profile and click ‘follow’ if you would like to see more of what I share in the future.
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